Navigation Links
How do cells count?
Date:1/12/2009

In the 13th January print edition of the journal Current Biology, Instituto Gubenkian de Ciencia researchers provide insight into an old mystery in cell biology, and offer up new clues to understanding cancer. Ins Cunha Ferreira and Mnica Bettencourt Dias, working with researchers at the universities of Cambridge, UK, and Siena, Italy, unravelled the mystery of how cells count the number of centrosomes, the structure that regulates the cell's skeleton, controls the multiplication of cells, and is often transformed in cancer.

This research addresses an ancient question: how does a cell know how many centrosomes it has? It is equally an important question, since both an excess or absence of centrosomes are associated with disease, from infertility to cancer.

Each cell has, at most, two centrosomes. Whenever a cell divides, each centrosome gives rise to a single daughter centrosome, inherited by one of the daughter cells. Thus, there is strict control on progeny! By using the fruit fly, the IGC researchers identified the molecule that is responsible for this 'birth control policy' of the cell a molecule called Slimb. In the absence of Slimb, each mother centrosome can give rise to several daughters in one go, leading to an excess of centrosomes in the cell.

In recent years, Monica's group has produced several important findings relating to centrosome control: they identified another molecule, SAK, as the trigger for the formation of centrosomes. When SAK is absent, there are no centrosomes, whereas if SAK is overproduced, the cell has too many centrosomes. These results were published in the prestigious journals Current Biology and Science, in 2005 and 2007. Now, the group has discovered the player in the next level up: Slimb mediates the destruction of SAK, and in so doing, ultimately controls the number of centrosomes in a cell.

Monica explains, 'We carried out these studies in the fruit fly, but we know that the same mechanism acts in mice and even in humans. Knowing that Slimb is altered in several cancers opens up new avenues of research into the mechanisms underlying the change in the number of centrosomes seen in many tumours'.

Mnica first became interested in centrosomes and in SAK when she was an Associate Researcher at Cambridge University, UK, and has pursued this interest at the IGC, where she has been group leader of the Cell Cycle Regulation laboratory since 2006. Ins Cunha Ferreira travelled with Monica from Cambridge, and is now in her second year of the in-house PhD programme. Two other PhD students in the lab also contributed to this research, Ana Rodrigues Martins and Ins Bento.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ana Godinho
agodinho@igc.gulbenkian.pt
003-512-144-07959
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Growth of new brain cells requires epigenetic switch
2. Scrawny gene keeps stem cells healthy
3. Scientists can now differentiate between healthy cells and cancer cells
4. MIT develops new way to fuse cells
5. Grape-seed extract kills laboratory leukemia cells, proving value of natural compounds
6. Recipe for capturing authentic embryonic stem cells may apply to any mammal, study suggests
7. Hebrew University scientists reveal mechanism that triggers differentiation of embryo cells
8. Patient-derived induced stem cells retain disease traits
9. Scientists study how asbestos fibers trigger cancer in human cells
10. Modified gene targets cancer cells a thousand times more often than healthy cells
11. Single virus used to convert adult cells to embryonic stem cell-like cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/3/2016)... , March 3, 2016  2016FLEX, organized ... this week highlighting advancements in flexible, hybrid and ... record setting attendance - have gathered for short ... fast-growing field of electronics. The Flex Conference celebrates ... point for companies, R&D organizations, and universities contributing ...
(Date:3/2/2016)... March 2, 2016 ... addition of the  "Global Biometrics Market in ... ,     (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130307/600769) , , Global biometrics ... at a CAGR of around 27%   ... has announced the addition of the  "Global ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... DUBLIN , March 1, 2016 ... has announced the addition of the  ... 2015-2019"  report to their offering. ... announced the addition of the  "Global ...  report to their offering. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... 03, 2016 , ... Kerafast Inc., developers of an ... the globe, today announced the availability of a Zika virus antibody from Vanderbilt ... and prevention measures for the Zika virus, the virus’s geographical distribution continues to ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... and IVF laboratories. A contingency of reproductive endocrinologists, including Dr. George Hill ... experiencing infertility and to help them build families. , Ovation Fertility is a ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 30, 2016 , ... The MIT bioLogic design team ... bioLogic team explored how bacterial properties can be applied to fabric and formed into ... which move in response to humidity change. The team harvested Natto cells and applied ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... and San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) to support the development of a patient-specific stem cell therapy ... Andrés Bratt-Leal in the lab of Dr. Jeanne Loring at The Scripps Research Institute ...
Breaking Biology Technology: